Anyone one of us who has entered a debate over scientific evidence has, at some point, had their confidence in scientific methodology undermined by their opponent. Such confidence in the science, it is argued, proves that we hold a religious-like faith to science and are thus blind to the reality. Laughingly, the opponent goes on to burn this straw-man down, claiming a hollow victory.
Evolution has been mocked as being a new religion and all too often, I hear the term “climate change faith”. It’s blatantly obvious that such criticism is unfounded, delusional and hopelessly flawed, however it does cause people like myself, to become (unfairly) embarrassed at their confidence in scientific practices. The most obvious retort would be to say that unlike religion, science is a process of self-improvement via critical investigation and continuous questioning – traits that are deplored within religion.
But then I remembered a great quote and went on the hunt for it;
“[Religion and science] …are deeply opposed. Science is a discipline of investigation and constructive doubt, questing with logic, evidence and reason to draw conclusions. Faith, by stark contrast, demands a positive suspension of critical faculties.
‘Sciences proceeds by setting up hypotheses, ideas or models and then attempts to disprove them. So a scientist is constantly asking questions, being sceptical. Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakeable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time.”
Richard Dawkins, (2006) The God Delusion.
It could be stated that the vast majority of those who label themselves “climate sceptics” have no scientific training and have done nothing to improve our understanding of the world yet feel right to blindly oppose evidence that is contrary to what they would like to believe. Effectively, they have hijacked the title “sceptic” without applying any critical investigation or expert re-evaluation of the accumulated data and understanding. They couple this with untested belief in UN plots, and unrealistic fears of economical ruin, starvation and turmoil; is this not compatible to devil that would lead us to hell?
Last week, I demonstrated how it’s really the denialist who are also the true alarmists (and come to think of it, I’ve just demonstrated it yet again) and here I’ve demonstrated how they are not sceptics at all, but have developed their own religion-like belief system. This belief system is untested, based on scraps of selective “evidence” (a small number of questionable papers and a selection of mined quotes) and, as anyone who has tried to debate with them would have also realised, is totally unshakeable truth for those who want to believe it – no amount of scientific evidence can ever alter their perception of the facts.
So be confident, dear reader, in you conviction that through scientific methodology we increasingly understand the world, the universe and ourselves ever more so. Feel free to be unashamed to bet on the evidence. Openly scoff those who try to put science down as a religion and those who have hijacked the title “sceptic”. By addressing this rise of irrationality for what it is and exposing the inappropriate labels that they smear across science, hopefully we can lead to world to something more logical and certainly a lot healthier.
Here is another presentation that I stumbled across by Richard Dawkins, “If science worked like religion”